Kick-Ass is the first "book" (volume) in Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's creator owned series published by Marvel's independent imprint, Icon Comics. Book three of the Series entitled Kick-Ass 2 ran from Dec 2010 through May 2012, while book two entitled Hit-Girl began Aug 2012 and is currently being released monthly. The first series was collected in Kick-Ass.
Originally publishing monthly, beginning in February, 2008, the series met several severe delays spanning from a month, to five months between issues, concluding on February, 2010. The initial delay was a result of John Romita Jr's work on Amazing Spider-Man. Later, the delays continued as Mark Millar and John Romita Jr began work with Matthew Vaughn on the feature film adaptation. The film wrapped before the final issue was done. In late 2006 the opportunity to name Kick-Ass's civilian identity was auctioned off for charity. Dave Lizewski won the auction and chose his own name for the character.
The series follows Dave Lizewski your average comic book loving teenager in a real world take of his foray into vigilanteism where superheroes only exist in comic books. Bored of his mundane life, Dave wonders why no one has ever tried to become a costumed hero before, and so, he makes a costume, begins a regimen, and joins the fight against crime as Kick-Ass. His first encounter doesn't go as planed. But soon enough Kick-Ass finds out he isn't alone in the fight against injustice as he meets Big Daddy, a pseudo Punisher, and his ten year old daughter, Hit-Girl, whose sword mastery and agility rival that of a ninja. After Kick-Ass gains a bit of attention off a youtube clip, Dave's class mate crush, Katie Deauxma, develops a crush on his costumed hero persona, Kick-Ass. While others find inspiration in his heroics and begin to follow suit, creating hero clubs and the like, but one of the inspired, The Red Mist, becomes an overnight sensation, gaining adoration from the media, local authorities, and the blogosphere, out shining Kick-Ass. But Kick-Ass won't have any of it. And so, a friendly rivalry is born as Kick-Ass, The Red Mist, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl team-up to take on New York City's biggest mob boss Johnny G.
There are a few key differences between Kick-Ass the comic and Kick-Ass the film. Gore and vulgarity is toned down for the film adaptation. Big Daddy and Hit-Girls origin differs drastically. The over all tone of the book is very dark, gritty and real, while the film skews somewhat lighthearted, funny and fun. Both film are very similar up to the half way point, then differ from one another to a degree, a potential occurrence of both comic and film being worked on at the same time.